Republic Day: Mostly Russian equipment on display

Updated - April 01, 2016 11:52 pm IST

Published - January 26, 2015 03:23 am IST - NEW DELHI

As U.S. President Barack Obama witnesses the military might as well as cultural diversity of the nation as chief guest of the Republic Day parade at Rajpath on Monday, the fact that most of the machines moving past are largely of Russian origin, along with a few pieces of American equipment, would not go unnoticed.

In line with the Narendra Modi government’s emphasis on Make in India, this year’s parade will feature military hardware developed indigenously such as the surface-to-air Akash medium-range missile and Weapon Locating Radar, both developed by the DRDO, as well as a model of INS Kolkata , the latest warship in the Navy’s arsenal.

The Indo-Russian joint effort BrahMos will feature a model which the U.S. is keen to replicate with India with offers of joint development and production. Some recent acquisitions from the U.S. will take part in fly-past such as the C-130 Hercules tactical transport, C-17 heavy transport and the Naval P-8I maritime patrol aircraft flying in formation with the two latest Russian built MiG-29Ks.

Seventy per cent of India’s military arsenal is Russian equipment, and only in the last decade has India started to diversify its purchases. But India’s defence purchases from the U.S. have increased rapidly in the last decade with deals worth over $10 billion and many more in the pipeline.

India is the world’s largest weapons importer and has recently increased foreign direct investment (FDI) in defence to 49 per cent from 26. In the past couple of years, the U.S. has emerged as the largest weapons supplier to India, displacing Russia from the spot.

In a first at this year’s Republic day parade showcasing women power, all-women contingents of the three Services will march across Rajpath.

There will be no display of nuclear-capable missiles in this year’s parade which had been a long-time practice.

Tableaux from 16 States and nine Central Ministries and Departments will present the rich and varied historical, architectural and cultural heritage of the country.

They will also showcase India’s progress in different fields, particularly floats from the Women and Child Development Ministry depicting the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” scheme, Sikkim’s contribution to the national economy through its large cardamom cultivation and a tableau on the Bhagoria tribal festival of Madhya Pradesh, which will be a special attraction.

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